Jeff Koons’ iconic ‘balloon dog’ sculpture shattered at Art Wynwood

‘Heartbreaking:’ Visitor accidentally breaks Jeff Koons’ ‘balloon dog’ sculpture at Art Wynwood


Updated on February 19, 2023

Written by By Zoe Sottile, CNN

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A blue balloon dog sculpture created by Koons shattered into tiny shards when a visitor accidentally kicked its podium, according to the gallery hosting the piece.

Bel-Air Fine Art exhibited the piece in its booth at Art Wynwood, a contemporary art fair in Miami.

In a statement shared with CNN via email, the gallery’s district manager, Cédric Boero, who managed the Art Wynwood booth, told CNN the gallery is “one of the official representatives of the famous dog sculptures in ball by Jeff Koons”.

“Of course it’s heartbreaking to see such an iconic piece destroyed,” Boero said.

He said the piece fell after an anonymous art collector visiting the stand accidentally kicked the pedestal during the fair’s opening cocktail party on Thursday night.

Bel-Air Fine Art was exhibiting the sculpture as part of its booth at Art Wynwood in Miami. Credit: Bel-Air Fine Art Contemporary art galleries

“The collector never intended to break the sculpture, in fact she never touched it with her hands,” he said. “It was the opening cocktail, there were a lot of people on our stand, she unwittingly kicked the base, which was enough to make the sculpture fall.”

“This sort of thing happens unfortunately, which is why the artwork was covered by insurance,” he said.

The gallery shared photos of the sculpture reduced to pieces of ceramic lying on the ground.

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The 2021 piece was titled “Balloon Dog (Blue)” and valued at around $42,000, according to an email from Bel-Air Fine Art. The sculpture was made of porcelain and measured 40 x 48 x 16 cm. A total of 799 editions of the sculpture have been made.

The sculpture, shown here before it was broken, was one of 799 editions created by Koons. Credit: Bel-Air Fine Art Contemporary art galleries

Koons and Art Wynwood did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Koons’ balloon animal figures are among the most iconic – and expensive – sculptures in the contemporary art world. His pieces have fetched huge sums at auction: “Rabbit” (1986) sold for $91 million at Christie’s New York in 2019, and “Balloon Dog (Orange)” (1994-2000) sold for $58.4 million six years earlier.

He created hundreds of interpretations of the Balloon Dogs, some of them over 10 feet tall, and some of them just over a foot tall, like the sculpture that shattered.

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